In January 2022, the Net-Zero Banking Alliance achieved a critical milestone as it welcomed the 100th signatory to its net-zero commitment. With the addition of the National Australia Bank (NAB), the Alliance now consists of over 100 members, representing 40 countries and over 43% of global banking assets. This milestone caps an outstanding year of ‘firsts’ for the Alliance and signifies a historic alignment of the banking sector toward climate action. “The response of the global banking industry has been impressive,” says Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FI. “In just nine months, the Alliance’s membership has far exceeded our expectations. This rapid uptake speaks to the urgency now being shown by leaders from across the financial sector to address the climate emergency at the pace and scale required.”

This is a pivotal moment in the mobilisation of global banking worldwide. The urgent need for meaningful climate action demands a total transition of all sectors of the global real economy to net-zero emissions. The industry-led, UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance recognizes the vital role of banks in supporting this transition, and with its growing membership, is poised to achieve critical impact in the coming decades.

Since launching in April 2021, a significant and growing proportion of the banking sector has convened under the auspices of the Alliance, where members have committed to aligning lending and investment activities with the 1.5°C warming limit outlined by the Paris Agreement. Combining near-term action with accountability, this ambitious commitment requires banks to set intermediate targets for 2030 or sooner, using no/low overshoot scenarios and leveraging robust, science-based guidelines. The Alliance reinforces, accelerates, and supports its members’ implementation of decarbonisation strategies by providing an internationally coherent framework and guidelines in which to operate, supported by peer-learning from pioneering banks.

With over 100 members now signed to the commitment, there is important work ahead. In the autumn of 2022, many member banks will be submitting their first rounds of interim 2030 targets. To aid in target-setting, the Alliance’s work tracks expect to release their first set of guidance for sector-specific decarbonisation and implementation pathways in 2022. The Alliance continues to grow its membership and cultivate a diversity of regional representation from across the global banking sector. In addition, the Alliance will also carry on with coordinated advocacy and alignment as the banking element of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero and the climate-focused element of the Principles for Responsible Banking.

The Alliance is convened by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and is accredited by the Race to Zero, a campaign of the UN High Level Climate Champions.